Pakistani police say that eight out of 10 militants charged with involvement in the 2012 attack on teenage activist Malala Yousafzai were actually acquitted in April — not sentenced to life in prison as reported at the time.

Friday's stunning announcement by deputy police chief, Azad Khan, offered no explanation as to why authorities had remained silent for so long or why they had failed to correct the facts earlier.

In April, public prosecutor Sayed Naeem said 10 militants charged over the attack were all convicted by an anti-terrorism court and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Naeem says only two of them were imprisoned for life while the others were acquitted due to lack of evidence. The prosecutor claims reporters misquoted him at the time, refusing to further discuss the case.